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England's Dreaming, Revised Edition


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About the Author

Jon Savage began writing about music in 1977 and has covered the music scene for U.S. and international publications ever since. His books include The Kinks: The Official Biography and Time Travel, a collection of articles. He lives in West London.


That a group of disaffected English teenagers should in the span of two years, five 45s, and one album become the vanguard of the punk rock movement exerting musical and social influence which persists today is an improbable and, in the hands of rock journalist/author Savage, a fascinating story. This is a lengthy and detailed treatise grounded by material derived from interviews with the principal participants and the author's own journal entries. The bibliography and 50-page Sex Pistol/punk rock discography appended to the text alone can justify purchase. The analysis is cogent, if at times academic, while the decidedly Anglophilic nature of the subject, politics, and language may intimidate readers more interested in fanzine material. This should become an important work on a seminal band and movement; the numerous Sex Pistol photo books and Glen Matlock and Peter Silverton's recent I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol ( LJ 11/15/91) pale in comparison. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/91.--Barry Miller, Austin P.L., Tex.

With wit and authority, freelance writer Savage pens an entertaining, exhaustive chronological history of punk rock and politics through 1980. For the first several chapters the account focuses on attention-getting impresario Malcolm McLaren, who opened a series of outrageous clothing shops including Let It Rock and Sex during the early '70s with companion Vivienne Westwood. McLaren's visits to New York City left him enamored of such iconoclastic American bands as the New York Dolls and Television, and, using the nervy, bored adolescents he met while selling punk fashion, he nurtured a group that would become the Sex Pistols. McLaren and the Pistols' shenanigans are set against a background of such seminal punk bands as Iggy and the Stooges, the Clash, the Damned and the Ramones. Savage also devotes attention to McLaren's flamboyant shop maven Jordan, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees as he chronicles the Pistols' ascent and decline. Even readers who consider this volume's length somewhat daunting will find it the definitive source of early-punk anecdotes. Photos. (Feb.)

"[T]he definitive history of the English punk movement..." --The New York Times Book Review"Scholarship with spunk." --Rolling Stone"The best book about punk rock and pop culture ever." --New Musical Express"An exceptional book: dead serious and achingly funny, full of delicate complex emotions about the most brutally simple form of pop music ever created." --Entertainment Weekly

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